Okolona native, and former NFL star Jack Gregory dies

Gregory was 74 years old.

Posted: Mar 2, 2019 8:36 PM
Updated: Mar 2, 2019 11:06 PM

MONROE COUNTY, Miss. (Obituary) - Jack Gregory, Jr., longtime legendary NFL player, farmer, businessman, philanthropist and Chief Executive Officer of the Mississippi Association of Supervisors, tackled the last obstacle of sickness and received the victory at 6 a.m. Saturday, March 2nd in Monroe County at age 74.

Known affectionately and respectfully by most as “Big Jack”, the 6’ 5’ giant of a man was born in Tupelo to the late Earl Jackson “Jack” Gregory, an NFL All Star in his own right, and Earlene McComb Gregory.

Gregory family

A man with a gregarious personality and vivacious wit, Gregory graduated from Okolona High School in l962 where he was an award winning standout and All-Conference athlete in football, track and basketball.

Gregory accepted a scholarship to play college football at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga where he was an Honorable Mention All-American playing tight end for the Moccasins.  Although drafted his junior year, he instead transferred to Delta State University where he graduated and set the DSU college record with 557 yards as a tight end.

His pro football career began with the Cleveland Browns, the team his father played for in the l940s. A dominating defensive end, he excelled as a defensive end and tackle, becoming one of the most ferocious quarterback sackers in the NFL.  In l970, in the Browns opening game against the New York Jets, Gregory sacked legendary quarterback Joe Namath in the first televised Monday Night Football game.

Jack became the first free agent in Cleveland Browns history and chose the New York Giants. In l972, Gregory had his finest season, leading the NFL with 21 quarterback sacks, making him NFL Defensive Player of the Year runner-up.

Gregory retired from professional football in 1979, playing his last season with his beloved Browns.

Gregory returned to Mississippi and became a model civic activist, philanthropist, farmer and businessman. He loved the lands of Chickasaw and Monroe County where he farmed its lands and raised cattle.

He formerly owned Jack Gregory Enterprises, a furniture manufacturing firm.  Gregory devoted many hours to his favorite charity, the Easter Seals Campaign where he served several times as National Campaign Chairman and National Board President in l988, achieving the designation as longest serving professional athlete telethon chairman in the organization’s long history.

Gregory became a talent scout for the Denver Broncos.  He was a licensed professional auctioneer, and was founder, president and ringmaster for Rebel Auction Company.

In l993, he was chosen to be executive director of the Mississippi Association of Supervisors, a position he held for 11 years.  An Okolona and Northeast Mississippi icon, Gregory enjoyed his last years being a citizen and purveyor of good times and strong fellowship with his thousands of friends from everywhere.

A former Mississippi National Guard member, he was a lifelong member of the Okolona Presbyterian Church, the Okolona Country Club and the Okolona American Legion.

A service celebrating his life will be held at 1 p.m. Monday, March 4, 2019 at the Okolona Presbyterian Church with Rev. Dr. Randy Lewman and Rev. Jimmy Bryan officiating. Burial will be in the Gregory family plot at Oddfellows Cemetery. Visitation will be from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 3 at Holland Funeral Directors-Okolona Chapel and from 11 a.m. to service time on Monday at Okolona Presbyterian Church.

Big Jack leaves behind his wife, Susan Brooks Gregory of Okolona, who he married Aug. 7, 2000; his son, E. J. Gregory, III and his wife, Charla of Oxford and a daughter, Madison Brook Gregory of Canton; two step children, Michael Carter (Brandy) of Wren and Amanda Hicklin (Eric). His grandchildren, Riley, Sydni, Thomas, Lucas and Ayden. His only brother, Judge John Andrew Gregory (Claire) of Okolona, and his family, and thousands of friends across Mississippi and around the country. He was preceded in death by his parents and first wife, Gwen Massey Gregory.

Memorials may be made to Okolona Presbyterian Church, 118 Robertson St., Okolona, MS. 38860, Tupelo Lee Humane Society, P. O. Box 2143, Tupelo, MS. 38801 or to Wags, 1317 Old Hwy 6, Amory, MS. 38821. Condolences may be e-mailed to hollandfuneraldirectors@comcast.net

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 16769

Reported Deaths: 803
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds110426
Madison77829
Lauderdale76569
Neshoba73945
Jones70933
Scott66312
Forrest60039
DeSoto59310
Rankin4639
Leake45512
Holmes44431
Copiah3344
Jackson31415
Attala31218
Yazoo2985
Newton2924
Oktibbeha28314
Leflore28238
Lincoln28131
Wayne2803
Monroe26925
Harrison2687
Lamar2525
Lowndes2529
Pearl River21231
Pike20411
Adams20416
Warren19910
Washington1998
Lee1978
Noxubee1956
Covington1832
Bolivar16911
Jasper1684
Clarke15619
Smith15611
Lafayette1564
Kemper15611
Chickasaw14314
Coahoma1324
Clay1254
Winston1241
Carroll11911
Marion1169
Claiborne1165
Yalobusha1116
Grenada1104
Lawrence1071
Simpson1050
Sunflower963
Tate931
Hancock9012
Marshall893
Union897
Itawamba897
Webster885
Panola873
Wilkinson859
Montgomery841
Jefferson Davis823
Tippah7611
Calhoun684
Walthall670
Amite651
Humphreys647
Tunica583
Prentiss533
Choctaw522
Perry513
Pontotoc493
Jefferson421
Tishomingo360
Stone320
Quitman320
Tallahatchie311
Greene301
George302
Franklin292
Alcorn191
Benton140
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 19387

Reported Deaths: 676
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2341123
Jefferson1927105
Montgomery190544
Tuscaloosa85316
Marshall7149
Franklin5939
Lee56334
Shelby53619
Tallapoosa43566
Butler43121
Walker3973
Elmore38110
Chambers36326
Madison3594
Unassigned3144
Morgan3141
Baldwin2969
Dallas2963
Lowndes26912
Etowah26512
DeKalb2603
Autauga2485
Coffee2401
Sumter2369
Houston2275
Pike2231
Bullock2197
Colbert1972
Hale19210
Russell1870
Barbour1831
Marengo1796
Lauderdale1752
Calhoun1693
Cullman1631
Wilcox1587
Choctaw15310
Clarke1492
St. Clair1372
Randolph1288
Dale1250
Marion12511
Talladega1215
Pickens1215
Limestone1100
Chilton1081
Greene955
Macon944
Winston920
Jackson863
Henry842
Covington831
Crenshaw803
Escambia793
Bibb761
Washington746
Blount641
Lawrence510
Monroe492
Geneva450
Perry430
Conecuh421
Coosa401
Cherokee383
Clay282
Lamar280
Fayette160
Cleburne151
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